BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — A delegation of about 45 Central Kentucky business, education and community leaders visited Bowling Green earlier this week during the 10th annual Commerce Lexington Inc. Kentucky Regional Tour presented by UK HealthCare.
Since 2009, this two-day tour enables participants to listen and learn from business leaders and elected officials in other areas of the commonwealth, share ideas, and express their appreciation for the impact they have on Kentucky’s economy.
While in Bowling Green, Regional Tour participants studied key initiatives related to workforce development, K-12 education, business attraction, downtown development, tourism and public-private partnerships. The trip began with a visit to the UK College of Medicine’s Bowling Green Campus, where the group learned about the innovative partnership between UK, the Medical Center at Bowling Green, and Western Kentucky University to address the physician shortage in the region. The four-year, regional campus medical school utilizes the same curriculum and assessments as UK’s medical school in Lexington.
Then, the delegation visited the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science on the campus of WKU to connect with students and learn more about one of the top high schools in the nation. Students there take college classes, engage in faculty-led research, can study abroad, and some earn up to 60 hours of college credit upon graduation.
In downtown Bowling Green, the group explored areas within the city’s successful tax increment financing district, which has seen the downtown transform into a destination for business, entertainment, housing and retail. The walking tour concluded at Hickory & Oak, a new restaurant and bar. Later, at the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, participants listened to a panel discussion that included Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson, Warren County judge-executive Mike Buchanon, and Chamber President Ron Bunch.
The second day of the tour began with a look at K-12 education and workforce development strategies in the region during a visit to Briarwood Elementary. The group learned about the South Central Kentucky LAUNCH program, which provides young people with labor market data about high-demand careers within the region and the skills that are needed for specific positions. Additionally, Warren County Public Schools adopted an integrated approach to teaching leadership through The Leader in Me program, which utilizes Dr. Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and incorporates the language and concepts into everyday life for students. Briarwood Elementary students then talked about the school and led tours.
A visit to Bowling Green’s successful Kentucky Transpark highlighted how local leaders have worked together to ensure the city has shovel-ready land for business recruitment. The Transpark is a modern, state-of the art business park that has landed many top economic development prospects for Kentucky in recent years. The tour concluded with a visit to the National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park, where attendees saw first-hand how this tourism option is drawing hundreds of thousands to the region.
Find out more about the Kentucky Regional Tour at www.commercelexington.com/kentucky-regional-tour.html.